Thank you for ensuring our safety, expats tell govt

Muscat: While the strategy and precautions devised by Oman to combat the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 received praise from global agencies, the expatriates here thanked the government for its gestures to ensure that every resident in the country is safe.

They expressed their love and gratitude to a country that has sprung into action to keep every citizen and expat safe with a string of measures including free test and treatment for COVID-19 and other welfare programmes to sustain health, safety and wellness.

“From information to assistance prorammes, all the measures and steps are helping to deal with the coronavirus effectively. They ensure that all the people stay safe and healthy in the country”, many senior expats said unequivocally in statements.

Following instructions from His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, the ministry of health has made free test and treatment for COVID-19 for the expats residing in Oman.

“For residents, especially those struggling financially, the decision to get themselves tested or treated for coronavirus might be a hard one. The step that the Oman government has taken in assuring all residents with free testing and treatment will, no doubt, boosts community engagement and participation in the current fight against this pandemic”, said Dr Baby Sam Samuel, Chairman of the Board of Indian Schools in Oman.

According to data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information, as of December last, the number of expatriates in Oman stood at 1,987, 456, nearly 42.50 per cent of the total population.

“As an expat myself, I highly appreciate and applaud this decision by the Sultanate to extend wholehearted support to all its residents during this time of crisis”, he said.

Not only that test is being done free of cost, the government has also waived the requirement of resident card, for the purpose.

According to the ministry, all people will be tested freely even if they do not have any identity cards with them. They need to give only name and basic information about them with a credible mobile number to inform results and follow up.

“Oman is managing the COVID 19 quite effectively, so far with the lowest numbers of reported deaths and infected persons, as far as the Gulf region is concerned. There is no discrimination of any kind in the government hospitals. I sincerely appreciate this great gesture and generous hospitality of the government authorities”, said Mohammad Osama Rawat, General Manager, Orental Pharmacy.

According to him, the controls imposed between regions and the sustained messaging in different languages help people stay at home.

“I am quite sure that with the blessings of Almighty, Oman will win the battle against Covid 19 and life will be back to normal routine quite soon in the Sultanate”, he said.

According to Davis Kallukaran, Managing partner, Crowe, the government is doing an excellent job in combating the spread of the coronavirus contagion.

“Leave alone the free test and treatment, the government has taken all the necessary measures to ensure the welfare of both nationals and residents during the lockdown. At the worksites, measures are in place for the safety of the workers”, he said.

Kallukaran said that the decision to waive fines and penalties linked to delayed disclosure of statements by companies and permission to reschedule repayment of taxes and premiums set of procedures will ease pressure on the business community.

The ministry of health is proving that “saving life of all the people disregarding their nationality is the priority and also preventing the disease spread amongst the citizens and residents”,  CA N Ramananda Prabhu, Chartered Accountant & Business Advisor, Middle East Chartered Accountants, Oman.

He said that the Oman Government is working hard and has taken various precautionary measures.

In addition to this, the Government is also coordinating with all embassies in Oman to ensure the safety of people of their respective countries, he said.

Siraj Mudassar Raza, Sales Manager with an electronic enterprise said that the leaflets in different languages on awareness campaign have helped all the residents immensely.

“There are thousands of expatriates who are living here only know the language of their mother country. This helped them what to do and where to go for the tests and related information”, he said.

As part of its ongoing awareness campaigns, the Ministry of Health has issued guidelines in different languages Arabic, English, Hindi, Filipino, Urdu, French, Swahili, Bengla and several other Indian languages.